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Aerial view of Ile-Rousse, Corsica, France one port on a Holland America Line European cruise

Ile-Rousse, Corsica, France

The name L'Île-Rousse (equally alluring in English: Red Island) fits this natural harbor to a T. Its rocky outcroppings, upon which stand a small stone Genoese tower and the Pietra lighthouse, are a photographer’s dream, especially at sunset when the amber colors truly come out. First settled by Phoenicians, this under-the-radar town of only 3,000 near the larger port of Calvi on Corsica’s west coast deserves far wider fame. Thank goodness, however, that it hasn’t achieved it. It's ideal for lazing away an afternoon in the town square, navigating quiet streets, visiting several attractive churches or strolling around the harbor and along fine white beaches. Tucked away in its unusual grid-patterned thoroughfares are handsome old villas and buildings that date from the late 18th century and the Napoleonic era. If you are feeling more adventurous, L'Île-Rousse serves as a base from which to explore some of Corsica's rugged interior, where ancient stone villages sit atop steep hills and vineyards fill entire valleys.